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Feb. 5 2004, 10:04 AM ET
Nearest price: 4.30 (02/05/04)
by bankbook (profile)
(all of bankbook's ratings)
Strong Buy
Ok so this is not a bank, not even a financial services company, but they hold the keys to lots of money. Warning: this is for the spec portion of your portfolio.
Odyssey Marine is a real shipwrecking company (in contrast to those that were common in historic bubble markets). They are currently bringing up the treasure of the S.S. Republic which sank in 1865, containing money & supplies for reconstruction in the South. Among listed cargo was $400,000 in specie. As of the last company update (1/27/04) they have recovered more than 17,000 coins (14,000+ silver, 3000 gold) or 14% of the $400,000 in specie. Some examples of these coins can be seen on the NGC/NCS website, which is conserving the coins (http://www.ngccoin.com/gallery/ss_republic.htm). There are estimates of the treasure value in the range of $180 million. Current market cap of the company is around $175 million.
On deck is the recovery of the H.M.S. Sussex which sank in 1694, with a reported 9 tons of gold. An agreement with the British Gov't is in place for sharing the loot.
Other wrecks are also on schedule for salvage, after these priority ships.

Management has learnt from others' mistakes regarding litigation, as is evident from the settlement with the insurer of the SS Republic & agreement on HMS Sussex with Britainís MoD.
While treasure is of course the primary driver, there is intention for exhibit & replica revenues. As the films by National Geographic of the salvage are aired, there is sure to be an increased interest. Further info & video/pictures are available on the company's website http://www.shipwreck.net/

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